Andrew Cumming, Chief Executive of SSAFA Forces Help, visited the RAF Benevolent Fund on Monday 14 February. During the visit, RAFBF Controller Sir Robert Wright presented SSAFA with a donation of £161,500, to support their excellent work among RAF family members in need.
Inside Right will use football as a tool to help veterans adjust to civilian life after returning from active service. The veterans will be predominantly aged between 20-50 years and will most likely have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Bosnia or Kosovo.
The programme will be delivered by five professional football clubs: Chelsea, Everton, Colchester United, Portsmouth and Lincoln City.
Inside Right will be managed centrally by the Football Foundation and is supported through funding from The Royal British Legion, the Ministry of Defence, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Comic Relief. The Mental Health Foundation and Combat Stress are also key stakeholders in the programme’s development.
The sessions, which are free to attend, will be delivered by Lincoln City FC Sport and Education Trust, a registered charity within Lincoln City Football Club. Activities will run every Thursday between 12-2pm on the new artificial grass pitch at Sincil Bank.
Graham Taylor, who played 150 times for Lincoln and managed the side between 1972-77, said: "Inside Right is an extremely worthwhile initiative and one that I am firmly behind. It is fantastic to see the nation’s game playing its part in helping our servicemen and women return to civilian life.
"They have risked their lives serving our country and we are rightly proud of them. Inside Right can be football’s way of recognising all of our military personnel for the sacrifices that they make on our behalf."
Jon Schimmel-Biggs, Health Coordinator at the Lincoln City FC Sport and Education Trust, said: "The aim of the 'Inside Right' project is to encourage ex-service men and women, aged 20-50, to meet up in a fun and friendly environment and become part of a weekly football session. It will be a great way to keep fit and healthy while socialising with other ex-service personnel."
“As well as playing matches there will also be the chance to get involved with football coaching through volunteering and the opportunity to gain qualifications. In addition to this there are opportunities to get involved behind the scenes at the club.”
Also at the game to lend his support to the project was Buster the Air Dog. Buster joined the military in 2005 as an armaments and explosives search dog and has served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.